It has been 18 years and 53 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
Otherwise occupied, I paid very little attention to the NHL hockey game until I checked Twitter later in the day and saw a friend’s tweet that said “Year of the outsiders #JohnScottMVP.” I was struck by that, called the friend and she shared her thought that John Scott was the sports equivalent of the current political scene of the outsiders.
It is undeniably the year of the “outsiders.” Let’s look at two: this one in the world of sports and one in the world of politics.
For many of you not familiar with the world of National League Hockey you will not have heard about the NHL’s most recent All Star game and the extraordinary events that occurred.
John Scott is an enforcer and was a player for the Arizona Coyotes hockey team. He’s the six foot eight inch designated guy to fight other players on behalf of his teammates. He’s never been a star and bounced around among four teams before landing with the Arizona Coyotes. I don’t know if he ever scored any goals in his entire professional career. He is not a star but a steady, constant player, devoted to the game and thankful that he is considered good enough to play in the NHL. He is like our mail men and women, invisible, delivering our mail daily without us giving a thought to their service.
The NHL All-star players are selected by the fans through voting. It began as a joke. He was nominated for the All Star game but a funny thing happened. Fans and his peers voted for him in overwhelming numbers. As we now know he was asked by the NHL to decline and he reluctantly did so telling the fans he wasn’t a star and they should select another. No one listened. The next thing he knew he was voted Team Captain and he would be playing for the Pacific Division in the All Star game. He was excited and proud. The NHL was not.
Then a not-so-funny thing happened. The NHL establishment didn’t want John Scott to play. After all, they had to preserve their image. It was not one of a 4th liner playing in the nationally televised All-star game. Once again John Scott was asked to state he was not playing but this time according to his very endearing written article ( Here is the link: http://www.theplayerstribune.com/a-guy-like-me/), he was asked if his children would be proud of him. Like other institutions the NHL showed the same tone deaf attitude having no clue what children mean to parents so from that moment on John Scott was determined to play.
The NHL establishment concocted a scheme apparently pressuring the Coyotes owners. After all, it was because of Bettman and a very large NHL loan they were able to buy the team. Don Maloney, Coyotes’ General Manager, became the establishment’s enforcer telling Scott that he had been suddenly and inexplicitly traded to the Montreal Canadians who immediately sent him down to minor league team in Newfoundland. There isn’t any NHL rule that says once a man has been demoted he can’t play in an All Star game but they figured they had sent the message to Scott…don’t play, don’t even think about it.
But Scott did think about it. Players from around the league told him, “You have to play.” So John Scott played.
It was both a time of magic for John Scott and a repudiation of the NHL by most fans and many players. He enjoyed a stellar day with his wife and two tutu/Coyotes sweater clad
tiny daughters in attendance and scored two All Star goals that evening…Two. At the end of the game three names were tweeted by the NHL for the game MVP. None of the three names were John Scott. Online Twitter erupted with John Scott MPV hashtags and fans in the Arena began chanting Scott’s name for MVP. In five minutes the NHL establishment capitulated and John Scott was named the MVP of the2016 All Star game.
John Scott represents “everyman.” He represents the men and women on the assembly line, the invisible and silent workers that keep our country running. In this one extraordinary moment of time John Scott and “everyman” prevailed over the establishment. The “outsiders”…the John Scott caliber of player who ignored the establishment’s threats and intimidation and the fans who have silently in anger and frustration watched game play diminish as it became buried in an avalanche of rules, regulations and insensitivity…made their voices heard. In sports John Scott epitomizes the common man’s disgust of the establishment’s unethical behavior.
Trump is the creation by an establishment that embodies a corrupt political system, a biased media and a Washington, D.C. awash in self-absorption and self-aggrandizement. Oddly, he too, speaks for “everyman.” He speaks for a shrinking middle-class that no matter how hard it works, no longer ever gets ahead and who fears its children and grandchildren will be left worse off. He speaks for the millions who are demoralized by a great county that is no longer respected by the world. He speaks for those who fear the possibility of catastrophic terrorist acts on our soil. He speaks for a county that is economically anemic and needs a transfusion not a “transformation”. His political incorrectness speaks against those in power who think they know better but have made things worse.
He says what he really thinks without the traditional political filter. Or any filter actually. Whether you think he is right or wrong it is refreshing. He offers hope to the silent majority that there is a chance to reclaim America, a great and prosperous and yes, entitled county; the county for which so many have sacrificed to get to its shores.
Deep down in the nation’s gut it is implicit that establishment politicians lie. They spoon feed their base what they believe they must say to remain popular and electable. However the national psyche is flexing its forgotten muscles. They are no longer silent while establishment politicians fail to serve the people but rather calculatingly work to retain their power and privilege. Trump has stripped away their politically correct veil. Every time he says something the establishment considers totally outrageous, sure to alienate all he defies their conventional wisdom and his poll numbers rise.
Trump has tapped a nerve, a sentiment, a longing. He has given voice to concerns too long unspoken. He is most certainly a political “outsider,” hated, admired or feared dependent upon one’s political persuasion. Can he win a presidential race or really change the country for the
better? Who knows? But to put it bluntly in the primary he is boxing the GOP establishment’s ears. Average folks are cheering him on with pleasure.
I chose these two men as the epitome of the “outsider.” In sports John Scott is symbolic of a true underdog who prevailed over an old, tradition riddled elitist establishment.
In politics Donald Trump is symbolic of a reactionary who has the potential to prevail over an elitist political establishment that will do whatever is necessary to preserve its power.
Let’s hear it for outsiders…#2016
© Joyce Clark, 2016
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